17 chasing cash

Manning River's crew head out for the start of last year's challenge. The host club be one of 17 crews chasing cash in tomorrow's 1000m metre race.
Manning River's crew head out for the start of last year's challenge. The host club be one of 17 crews chasing cash in tomorrow's 1000m metre race.

SEVENTEEN crews will chase $3500 in prizemoney in the Manning Mixed Eight Challenge, the feature event on Manning Rowing Club’s three-day Manning Summertime Regatta starting today.

The handicap event will be underway just after 1pm on Saturday with the crews negotiating a 1000 metre course starting near the Martin Bridge and heading to the rowing club. It’ll be a straight final, with no heats.

Patrons at the TasteFest in Queen Elizabeth Park will get a great view of the action and this is the reason the event will be rowed tomorrow. 

“That’s the reason we switched the race from Sunday to Saturday, to work in with the Tastefest,’’ Manning Rowing Club’s Hugh McLeod explained.

The challenge was held for the first time last year and attracted 14 crews. Sydney club UTS will be the defending champions and favourites and will start off a handicap of 22 seconds. UTS will start a second crew this year and they’ll be off eight seconds.

Manning River will also be off eight seconds. The crew will be made up of Hugh McLeod, Tom Steedman, Heidi Pullen, Nicole Pullen, Rhett Pattison, Colin Broos, Narelle Drake and Sandi Kippax.

“We’ll give it a pretty good shot,’’ McLeod said.

“We’ve had a few good preparations – last year we were a bit scratchy, but we’ll be better this time.’’

However, he said UTS No 1 will take a power of beating, despite their handicap.

“They’ll make up the ground pretty quickly,’’ he predicted.

Seven crews will be off eight seconds, with two from go, five from four seconds, one from 12 and one from 22. Winners will pocket $2500.

Overall the regatta has attracted 632 athletes and 3430 seats, making it the biggest in the State.

“We have more seats than the State championships,’’ McLeod said, explaining that because of the compact program, rowers are able to enter more than one or two events, unlike championship regattas.

Rowing will start at 1pm today and the program will finish around 3.30 on Sunday.

The host club will be strongly represented, with McLeod saying a number of new rowers will be contesting their first regatta.